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MOUNTAIN BIKING AROUND NEW ZEALAND

Posted by Kiwi Experience Crew on 23 June 2014

Best mountain biking tracks        

Throughout New Zealand there are many scenic and enjoyable mountain biking tracks suitable for the beginner to those looking for a challenging ride. Don’t worry if you haven’t got your own bike on the bus with you - there are bikes available to hire in many of the locations we pass through. Talk to staff in bike shops for more detailed information and maps of the local area. Helmets are compulsory by law in New Zealand regardless of road or trail riding - just put it on your noggin!

MOUNTAIN BIKING AROUND NEW ZEALAND

BAY OF ISLANDS

WAITANGI FOREST

From Paihia head to Waitangi and up towards the Waitangi Golf Course. Take Te Wairoa Road which continues through the Rayonier forest to the small township of Kerikeri. Approximately 25 kilometres.

AUCKLAND

WAIHEKE ISLAND

Only a 30 minute ferry ride from Auckland, Waiheke has a great loop-track around the eastern part of the island. Ask for a map at the ferry terminal.

WOODHILL FOREST

50 kilometres of trails running through an exotic forest with sandy base makes for excellent riding even in wet conditions. Loads of purpose built jumps and challenging structures. ROTORUA Three kilometres south of Rotorua on Highway 5, turn left onto Waipa State Mill Road. 200 metres up on left you will find a car park and entrance to the trails. Make sure you get a map from the info centre before you leave town! You’ll find some of New Zealand’s best purpose-built mountain biking in the Whakarewarewa Forest. Offering a variety of tracks for beginners to the extreme riders. TAUPO ARATIATIA DAM TRACK Head north out of Taupo following signs to the Huka Falls and after crossing the bridge you will come across the start of the Aratiatia dam track. This track follows the river down to the dam itself where you can turn right and back to Taupo.

ROTORUA

Three kilometres south of Rotorua on Highway 5, turn left onto Waipa State Mill Road. 200 metres up on left you will find a car park and entrance to the trails. Make sure you get a map from the info centre before you leave town! You’ll find some of New Zealand’s best purpose-built mountain biking in the Whakarewarewa Forest. Offering a variety of tracks for beginners to the extreme riders.

TAUPO

ARATIATIA DAM TRACK

Head north out of Taupo following signs to the Huka Falls and after crossing the bridge you will come across the start of the Aratiatia dam track. This track follows the river down to the dam itself where you can turn right and back to Taupo.

CRATERS OF THE MOON

Popular with Taupo riders as close to town and loads of curly tracks. From the lake front at Taupo head north on State Highway 1 for five and a half kilometres, then turn left onto Karapiti Road (opposite helicopter). All grades, one to four hours, mixture of gravel roads and 4WD and single track. For those truly mad mountain bikers, get off the bus for a couple of nights in the National Park area and try the ‘42nd Traverse’. You won’t be disappointed! Do take extra clothing, food and liquids, plus a map!

WELLINGTON

East of Wellington city you’ll see Mt Victoria. Well-used by both cyclists and walkers, there’s several routes up to the top from where you’ll get great views of the city. 70% single track, up to 8 kilometres of fun.

NELSON

THE HIRA FOREST

Two kilometres east of Nelson (ride out on Nile Street) is a good choice, offering some grade 2-4 rides. The popular 35 kilometres Pelorus to Nelson Track starts at the end of Maungatapu Road. For those after a more challenging cycle you’ll find it at Fringed Hill, at the bottom of the Dun Mountain Walkway. After a steep 700 metre climb you’ll be rewarded with the best views and then choose from three tracks back down - but beware, all of these can be treacherous in wet conditions.

QUEENSTOWN

The Queenstown Trail has over 110 kilometres of tracks to explore, from flat and easy trails, to extreme downhill tracks for those after an adrenaline fix. Queenstown is becoming a major international destination for mountain biking - so it’s definitely worth grabbing a bike and checking out Queenstown Bike Park if that’s your thing. For starters the scenic Lake Wakatipu Ride will only take you an hour or two; start from Queenstown town centre, head around Frankton Arm, over the historic Kawarau Bridge then continue along the lakefront to Kelvin Heights and Queenstown golf course (on the bit of land across the lake from the town centre) - then it’s an easy ride back the same way you came - about 15 kilometres return.

DEEP SOUTH

There are some legendary tracks down South including Whare Flat forest in Dunedin, Sandy Point in Invercargill and Stewart Island has some great off trail stuff to grapple with too.

The Central Otago Rail Trail is also a good option following a very scenic old rail route. Allow two to four days and start in Middlemarch. Trains depart daily from the Dunedin railway station to Middlemarch.

CHRISTCHURCH

Bottle Lake Forest, just outside of Christchurch, is a popular area for cycling and tramping - especially for night-riding if you’re keen to try something a bit different. Approximately 30 kilometres return, this ride will take about two hours and is a nice leisurely cycle that allows you to explore the city’s outskirts.

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